Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Religious Affections - Part II

I know it's a tad early, actually I still haven't finished reading the 2nd part of part II, I'm currently on point VIII, but something caught my attention from what I was reading:

"...terror and a conviction of conscience are different things. For though convictions of conscience do often cause terror; yet they do not consist in it; and terrors do often arise from other causes. Convictions of conscience, through the influences of God's Spirit, consist in conviction of sinfulness of heart and practices and of the dreadfulness of sins as committed against a God of terrible majesty, infinite holiness and hatred of sin, and strict justice in punishing of it."

This is the reason why I don't stress that much on hell but do stress a lot more on our sins and God's Holiness when witnessing to someone.
There is a Paul Washer video on Evangelism and he gives some pointers on how to witness to people and examples of how he has witnessed to people. In it, he explained that one should always begin with God's Holiness. I agree wholeheartedly, while hell is a terrible place and people should fear it, it should never be the reason why we run to Christ.
Jonathan Edwards explains:

"...there are some persons that have frightful apprehensions of hell, a dreadful pit ready to swallow them up, and flames just ready to lay hold of them, and devils around them, ready to seize them; who at the same time seem to have very little proper enlightenings of conscience really convincing them of their sinfulness of heart and life."
"The devil, if permitted, can terrify men as well as the Spirit of God, it is a work natural to him, and he has many ways of doing it, in a manner tending to no good."
Satan can instill such fears in a person and if a person runs to Christ because of fear of hell and not conviction over their sin, the person may be deceived into thinking he/she is saved and not be saved at all.

Edwards explains that Satan can instill such fears in a person, "not to convince persons of things that are true, and revealed in the word of God, but to lead them to vain and groundless determinations;"

There should always be a balance, but above all we should stay as true to scripture as possible, reading and rereading those valuable examples left for us by the early Christians on how to witness to unbelievers. Below are some of them from the book of acts:
Acts 8:9-24, 8:26-40, chpt 10, 13:4-48, 17:1-4, 24:24-27, chpt 26, 28:16-31

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